50,000 Spartan Fans? Could Be Wrong
On Monday, when asked about Michigan State’s possible homecourt advantage on Saturday playing at 72,000-seat Ford Field, only about 90 miles from campus, Calhoun said: “Clearly, when you talk about 72,000, I’m sure there will be 50 or 60,000 Michigan State fans there, as well there would be (for UConn) if we were playing up here.”
In truth, there will be nowhere near 50-60,000 Spartan fans at Ford Field on Saturday.
Each of the Final Four schools (UConn, Michigan State, North Carolina and Villanova) have been allotted 3,750 tickets to disperse. After that, virtually all the rest of the tickets are spoken for – from tickets distributed to the host committee, the National Association of Basketball Coaches, CBS Sports, Division 1 athletic directors, the NCAA, and to the general public.
More than 20,000 tickets were allocated to the general public in a lottery drawing done nearly a year ago. According to Cameron Schuh, the NCAA’s associate director for public and media relations, nearly one in seven attendees at the Final Four will be from the Detroit or Michigan area. Even if nearly all of them were Michigan State fans, added to the 3,750 tickets dispersed to the school, that would only account for about 7,000 fans.
I'm sure some Spartan fans from nearby will find ways to score some ducats. But the idea that there will be 50-60,000 of them strong? I'd be shocked if it approached 10,000.
“I’m sure there will be a green tint (to the crowd),” said Schuh, “but by no means will it be this outweighing of Michigan State support.”
But then, Calhoun has never let the facts get in the way of a good motivational story for his team. He's going into Saturday's Final Four game feeling like a road team, and the Huskies went 9-1 on the road this season and are 8-1 at neutral sites.
According to Schuh, here’s a breakdown of how the 72,000 tickets for the event have been allocated:
General public – 28%
Teams – 23%
Host committee – 10%
NABC – 6%
CBS/Corporate family – 5%
Division I athletics directors – 7%
NCAA – 21% (The NCAA block isn’t limited to staff only – it’s more like a catch-all to account for any other groups that the NCAA provides tickets to: vendors, licensees, constituent organizations, governance committees, etc.)